Aviators from Royal Australian Air Force’s No. 1 Security Forces Squadron participated in Exercise Pacific Defender earlier this year at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
CAPTION: Royal Australian Air Force airfield defence guards from No. 1 Security Forces Squadron conduct an assault as part of Exercise Pacific Defender 2022 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Story by Flight Lieutenant Pierce Dilettoso. Photo by Airman 1st Class Breanna Gossett.
The exercise was a bilateral training and engagement activity conducted with the United States Air Force’s 736th Security Forces Squadron, with a primary objective of enhancing interoperability between security forces in the Indo-Pacific region.
No. 1 Security Forces Squadron detachment commander, Squadron Leader Zacari Smit, said the program provided the squadrons with the opportunity to exchange tactics, techniques and procedures across multiple subjects.
“We aimed at advancing our combat shooting, hand-to-hand combat, protected mobility, and military working dog capabilities,” Squadron Leader Smit said.
“The success of the exchange was tested through a full-mission profile activity involving the short-notice protection of air and space capability nodes in a hostile operating environment.”
The exercise enabled No. 1 Security Forces Squadron to demonstrate the agile and lethal capabilities of its close-combat teams, while protecting air and space assets from a well-trained enemy, and in terrain that accurately reflected the many small islands that characterise the Indo–Pacific region.
“The scenario also allowed No. 1 Security Forces Squadron to test its ability to team and integrate with a partner force at short notice,” Squadron Leader Smit said.
“For our junior aviators, this type of interoperability necessitated quick and effective communication to ensure tactics and procedures were understood and, in many cases, merged across the two nations.
“While at times challenging, the accelerated teaming process used on the exercise will enable the success of any future operations with partners in the Indo-Pacific region.”
Beyond combined training benefits, the exercise also provided No. 1 Security Forces Squadron the opportunity to draw lessons and observations for capability development.
“Employment of No. 1 Security Forces Squadron’s command and control technology was trialled for the first-time alongside protected mobility platforms in a hostile and complex operating environment,” Squadron Leader Smit said.
“The tactical and capability lessons learnt on Exercise Pacific Defender, and similar activities, will drive the squadron’s transition to a more agile and responsive force to meet the evolving needs of Air Force and the joint force.”